Tao Te Ching

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Paul Carus

1852 – 1919 CE

The Teachings of Lao Tzu

Self-described as “an atheist who loved God,” Paul Carus was one of the first Americans with a serious interest in Buddhism. He saw Taoism and Buddhism as complementary and published 75 books and 1500 articles on social issues, history, science, religion, politics, logic, anthropology and mathematics. He worked closely with D. T. Suzuki and corresponded with thought-leaders of his time like Tolstoy Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and Booker T. Washington. He defined his philosophy as, “everything is fraught with life; it contains life; it has the ability to live” and promoted a “Religion of Science,” interfaith dialog, and a “cosmic religion of universal truth.”


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The Teachings of Lao Tzu (1913)

Quotes by Paul Carus (6 quotes)

“The same thing which in Lao-Tzu…is the Tao… is Spinoza’s cosmotheism is God as the eternal substance.”

Chapters: 1. The Unnamed

Themes: God

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“According to a notion of the early Christians, the devil would like to ‘play the part of God’. According to Lao-Tzu’s theory, the nature of the devil consists exactly in the attempt of acting the part of God.”

Chapters: 2. The Wordless Teachings

Themes: God Christianity

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“The term wu, ‘non-existence,’ is not annihilation but denotes absence of concrete particularity or of materiality.”

Chapters: 57. Wu Wei

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“The word ‘ch’an, ‘dust,’ is a Buddhist term which means ‘the worry of worldliness’.”

Chapters: 4. The Father of All Things

Themes: Suffering

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“The word ‘kuh’ might be translated ‘backbone,’ but in the original it reads ‘bones.’ To make a man strong-boned means to render him steady in character.”

Chapters: 3. Weak Wishes, Strong Bones

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“Although Confucian philosophy has become the guiding star of the Chinese government, Lao Tzu has taken a firm hold on the hearts of the people. In the progress of time, his figure has grown in significance into the stature of a Christ-like superhuman personality.”

from The Teachings of Lao Tzu (1913)

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